We can't speak Inglis

Mahathir was right. After the GE in 2008, Malaysians have become more racist. But then it depends on the context of the discussion. I, amongst Malaysians for one, can be labeled as racist when talking about Ketuanan Melayu, racial rights, kebangsaan schools and so on. But then I talk about it because I feel there's room for improvement. 'Room for improvement' is an understatement too- certain things just have to be thrown out of the window.

Take the massive street protest against using English in teaching Maths and Science for instance. There is grave concern of loosing Bahasa Melayu as a language. Also, the teachers and students who are failing to grasp Maths and Science because of the language change are banging their heads on chalkboards. Some Malays are even afraid of loosing the Malay identity.

Have you ever heard of an international deal written in Bahasa Melayu? Or subject text reference books written in this language? They probably have to be translated from English first. I have interviewed many graduate-candidates to fill the vacancies in my office before and I find that majority Malaysian local uni graduates of all races just can't speak proper English. Non-graduates can speak better English because they move out of the Malaysian education earlier than the graduates. The Malaysian education system does not equip Malaysians to operate in an international environment. The Malaysian education system is just good for Malaysia. There's too much Malay, too little English. If I employ a 100% of local-uni grads in my office I'll be dead- I'll have to review all my contracts, liaise with all my important customers and have no hours left on the clock.

It's a question of economics not a question of loosing ethnic/ cultural identity. Lately, I find that many of my China and Indonesian colleagues speak better English than me. Are the Chinese and Indonesian loosing their identity? I don't think so. I am very worried when I compare how Malaysia is progressing against other nations. I don't think Malaysia is progressing at all- to progress one has to invent and reinvent. How to do this when we can't even read English.


  1. Actually there could be more than what meets the eye in the above hoo-ha.

    I do sympathize with the rural folks who are not used to English environment. If there are sufficient resource and proper implementation of this change, then it should be manageable. In fact this is the government's responsibility.

    In the world where the fittest survive, if the language of business and what not is English or Chinese, then this is the skill we have to acquire.

    We can't expect Americans, English, Europeans, Australians and Japanese etc to come to do Malaysia to spoke our language, right? If you need to sell nasi lemak to make a living surely you have to learn to make nasi lemak as well, rather than complaining about you only cook and eat bihun in your house.

  2. yes agreed with you Wee Tak , when china's economy is booming in the late 80's-90's , even cacucians flock to china to learn Mandarin & vice versa chinese nationals go to western countries like Britain , Australia , Canada , United States , Singapore to learn English.

  3. The Malay linguists love their language, they can instead of doing a red sea strategy (making sure BM is secured in Malaysia, when it is already secured), they should do a blue sea (opening up new horizon and making foreigners wanting to learn BM and the fact is, it needs a good economic reasons that back English and Chinese up.

    Understand this book is one of Najib's favourite